Thursday, December 18, 2008

<strong> and <b> / <em> and <i> - Which is for what?

A question that has been bugging me all day today when I was conducting some SEO work today was is the <strong> and <em> tag any different to the <b> and <i> tag. The conclusion I have come to after researching the topic is that you use the <strong> and <em> instead of <b> and <i> tag when you are trying to emphasize keywords on a page as readers treat the two tags differently. They achieve the same visual effect however the <strong> and <em> tags are "logical" tags. This means that they are for when the developer wants to add emphasis to particular words or phrases. A reader for a user with disabilities may say the word louder for example. The <b> and <i> tags are for visual layout effects on a page and do not have the same effect on a reader or add any weight to your keywords in the search engines. I suggest when crafting a page and that if you want to format something purely for visual effect then you use the <b> or <i> tag, as they will reduce you page size very slightly, hence increase load time. This post by Nikki Pilkington also states that there is no effect in the SEO world.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Improve Your Businesses Wireless Security

A business wireless network should be a network that is safe from hackers and unauthorised users. Here are some steps to secure your network from such intrusions;

Create a Wireless Security Policy

Create a policy that specifies who can use the network, and how to protect the network
This is one below is taken from a Cisco template I found on a website;
- Acceptable use policy, to specify what types of network activities are allowed and which ones are prohibited.
- E-mail and communications activities, to help minimise problems from e-mails and attachments.

- Antivirus policy, to help protect the network against threats like viruses, worms, and Trojan horses.
- Identity policy, to help safeguard the network from unauthorised users.
- Password policy, to help employees select strong passwords and protect them.
- Encryption policy, to provide guidance on using encryption technology to protect network data.
- Remote access policy, to help employees safely access the network when working outside the office.

Educate your Employees
Educate your employees and get them involved in protecting the network. Use informational posters and training about security, passwords, and privacy to help you keep your business information and communications secure.

Secure the WLAN
- Use strong encryption: When you install your network, set up the strongest wireless encryption you can. WEP encryption is adequate, but WPA and WPA2 are better options.

- Secure communications: Encrypt data that travels on the network, and authenticate users to be sure you know who is using the WLAN.

- Change the default network name to something that is hard to identify so it is unrecognisable.

- Use MAC address control lists combined with encryption to restrict user access.
- Be sure that management ports are secured with non default names and passwords.

- Hide the access points to prevent tampering.

- Use video surveillance cameras to monitor your office building and site for suspicious activity.

Protect Your Company from Outside Threats
Protect wireless devices with the same security you use for the your company network. (i.e. firewalls, VPNs, and antivirus software)

Protect Your Wired Network from Wireless Threats

Install wireless intelligent protection switching (IPS) devices to prevent unauthorised, "rogue" access points and other wireless threats.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Review of Untangle UTM

Recent open source start-up Untangle has launched one of the first open-source unified threat management software platforms (UTM) for network security, targeted at small to mid-sized businesses. The Untangled Gateway Platform was built around more than 30 open source projects, including SpamAssasin, ClamAV, and Snort, and competes with proprietary systems from SonicWall, Barracuda and WatchGuard, among others.

Untangle is aimed at SMB appliances and is geared toward 250 users or fewer, and is meant to work on one server although not released as an enterprise product it is targeted at SMB’s who previously may have used a combination of open source projects.

There is an enterprise-scale version slated for a 2009 release with the free version including a spam, virus, spyware, phish and attack blocker, as well as a web filter, protocol control, open VPN, intrusion
prevention, firewall, router and web reporting.

The paid version of Untangle includes active directory integration and advanced policy management, as well as remote access portal and configuration back-up.

Pricing for up to 10 users is US$25 a month, and it's double for up to 50 users. From 51 to 150 users it will cost US$150 a month, and for more than 151 users US$250 a month.

For more information go to

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Technology Tips Blog - Update - Dec 2008

Just a quick post to let you know that I have been moving around some of the page elements and navigation on the website to make it easier for readers to get around and discover the content on the blog. Moving the tag navigation closer to the top of the page I thought made sense as it makes it easier to find relevant topics on the website as well as adds the ability for users to subscribe via email to new posts, become followers of the blog and bookmark post on social media websites. Please sign up as a reader as a form of your appreciation for updated tips and site content. Just to let you know I have a guest called James Kambourian, a good friend of mine and a network administrator with management skills who will be featuring some posts in coming in the coming months and if I get a good response to his posts then I he will become a permanent feature on the site, so I will appreciate your feedback in coming months. Over Christmas time I will also be giving away some copies of software to some lucky readers so please leave comments on the blog as these are your entries into the draw for the software. Im still striking a deal with the software provider though as to how many copies they will be providing me so I will keep you posted on this one. It is likely to be a piece of software that has been featured on the technology tips blog recently though just to let you know.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Search engine optimization and web site marketing summary

Search engine optimization and web site marketing is about making small modifications to parts of your web site and performing a number of actions. When the task is viewed as a whole it might seem like allot to take in and complete. To make this task easier for you to complete I have broken down each important elements I consider important to web site SEO and marketing. If you follow and complete the following actions on your web site you should notice a considerable difference to the ranking in the search engines and an increase in traffic.

Create unique, accurate page titles
- For your home page list the business name and the main focus areas of your site. (i.e. business name - main focus1 - main focus2 - physical location)
- For other content pages list the business name and the main focus area of the page.
- Note that the contents of the title tag will usually appear in the first line of the results as a link.
- The title tag should not contain any of the words Google disregards. These are words like 'and', 'not', 'a', 'the', 'about' etc which are too common for Google to take any notice of.
- Use your main keywords in your title.

Use the "keywords" meta tag
- The page's keywords meta tag should contain short concise keywords relating to your site content and contain no more than 250 characters
- Keyword information influences what keywords you site appears under in the search results.
- Use unique and relevant keywords that relate to your pages title, meta description and page content.
- Keywords should be unique for each page
- Weight is given to how near your keyword is to the beginning of your keywords list.

Use the "description" meta tag
- The page's description meta tag should be a sentence or two or a short paragraph of approximately 250 characters.
- Description information appears under a page's title and above a page's URL in a search results.
- If your site is listed in DMOZ then the page description from here is sometimes used.
- Write a description that informs users of the pages content and contains keywords relevant to your page.
- Descriptions should be unique for each page.

URL structure of the web site
- Create descriptive categories and file names for the documents on your web site.
- Create URL's that you can remember from memory and friendly to read.
- URL's to pages are displayed as part of a search result so include keywords to name folders and relevant pages.
- Create a simple directory structure
- Never have more than one URL for your home page.
- Provide one version of a URL to reach a document

Web site navigation is important
- If you have enough pages around a specific topic area create a page describing these related pages (e.g. root page -> related topic listing -> specific topic)
- Create a naturally flowing hierarchy making it as easy as possible for users to go from general content to the more specific content they want on your site.
- Use mostly text for navigation by controlling most of the navigation from page to page through text links. This makes it easier for search engines to crawl and understand your site.
- Use "breadcrumb" navigation - A breadcrumb is a row of internal links at the top or bottom of the page that allows visitors to quickly navigate back to a previous section or the root page. This create more keyword links on your pages and improves useability.
- Put an HTML sitemap page on your site and make the link to it a text link so that it will be indexed easily. Make sure that is easy to find for users.
- Create an XML Sitemap file to your page and submit to Google and Yahoo.
- Consider what happens when a user removes part of your URL as you don't want users browsing your directory structure. You can add an index.html page in each directory to forward the user to a formatted page containing links back into the body of the web site.
- Have a useful 404 page that has a customised look and feel

Be aware of the Google Sandbox and Supplemental Index
- The Google sandbox is part of the Google indexing algorithm that considers the age of a domain.
- Do not expect high listing in the search engines for more than 6 months even if you are doing everything right as older domains are favoured.
- If you site is in the supplemental index this means that your site has been classified as a site that contains duplicate content
- Simple Way To Probe Google's Supplemental Index - *** -sjpked

Offer quality content and services
- Creating compelling and useful content that will influence users on your web site so that users will link to your pages.
- Encourage users to link to you site through blog posts, social media services, email, forums, or other means.
- Use relevant language for you target audience.
- Write easy-to-read text and stay organised around the topic.
- Create content primarily for your users, not search engines and make the content relevant to the title and description of your page.
- Do not create duplicate web sites with the same content, these sites decrease your site ranking as search engines do not value content that is duplicated
- Content throughout a site should not also be duplicated.
- Aim to keep content duplication to a minimum; make sure that at least 70% of the sites content is original.
- To give you an idea of what keyword density to use, if you have less than 250 words on the page, just use one keyword and use it no more than three times total.
- To target specific keywords in your content bold the first keyword and italicise the second or third use of that keyword.
- Keep your content fresh and updated to keep bringing Google bot back to your site on regular intervals.

Include an RSS Feed
- Create an RSS Feed associated with your site or product
- It is vital that you take advantage of this technology to get your content broadcasted across the web and around the world.

Include anchor text on you links
- Choose descriptive and concise anchor text.
- Format your links so they're easy to spot on the page. (i.e. make they a different colour to the body text, preferably blue as this is the default colour for a link)
- Think about anchor text for internal links too and keep the anchor text consistent when linking to these pages.

Use rel="nofollow" for links
- Setting the value of the "rel" attribute of a link to "nofollow" will tell Google that certain links on your site shouldn't be followed.
- Using this attribute will allow you to prioritise which pages are indexed.
- Use this attribute on outbound links to other web sites that are not that relevant to your websites content.
- To nofollow all of the links on a page, use "nofollow" in your robots meta tag.

Include heading tags and format the page appropriately on each page
- Use <h1> for your main topic and <h2> for the sub topics included on your page
- Use headings sparingly across the page. (i.e. One use of <h1> tag and a few uses if <h2> tag)
- Use bullets where possible as visitors can quickly scan them. Search engines also prioritise bullets instead of long paragraph text.
- To maximise the results for your keywords optimization efforts focus on one or two keywords only per page.

Optimize your images for search engines
- Use the alt attribute to describe the image including a keyword where relevant (note: do not bother doing this for images that are used a spacers etc)
- Make the image file name relevant to the image including a keyword where relevant.
- Use brief, but descriptive file names and alt text.
- Store images in a directory of their own.
- These tips make it easy for images search engines to include your images.

Use of robots.txt
- This ensures that relevant sections of your web site are indexed.
- Use secure methods for sensitive content. (i.e. Logon mechanisms as robots.txt will not prevent users from accessing confidential material included on your web server)

Inbound and outbound linking
- Try to get as many links as possible to your web site from other sites listed in the search engines.
- The quality of your inbound and outbound links far outweigh quantity.
- The oldest method of gaining inbound links is to request them.
- Find the highest page rank sites linking to your site and your competitors' sites and try to get additional links from these web sites.
- Run monthly link campaigns and snatch up the best identified web sites.
- Run regular checks on what pages are still linking back to your site. Also make sure they did not move you from a high page rank page to a lower one.
- Eliminate any penalised sites you link to as this has a negative effect of your search engine rankings.
- Check your search engine ranking and your competitor's for each of your keywords every week. Do this for Google, Yahoo, MSN and Alta Vista at the minimum.
- One of the most effective methods of gaining back links is to provide an article for other companies to use containing links to your web site.
- Use PPC advertisements to achieve inbound links to your site.
- Linking to yourself from other sites that you might own is an acceptable practice. Don't set-up web site that simple link back to yourself though.
- Add a button to your site such as "Add This" so that users can use social bookmarking sites to link back to your web site.

Promote your web site in the right ways
- Include a blog about new content or services.
- Use social media sites to promote your web site.
- Putting effort into the off-line promotion of your company or site can also be rewarding.
- Reach out to those in your site's related community.
- Add your business to Google's Local Business Center this way your site will be added to Google Maps.
- Press releases are one of the mainstays of any marketing program and work wonders to drive large amounts of traffic.
- Create an affiliate program (This means that the affiliate - the person who placed your link on their site - gets paid a small percentage of any sale made)
- Avoid link farming, duplicated content, cloaking, spamdexing, and other attempts to fool search engine crawlers as this will get your site penalised.

Use web analytics services
- Get insight into how users reach and behave on your site and make common navigation paths easier on your web site.
- Discover the most popular content on your site so you can further improve these areas.
- Measure the impact of optimizations you make to your site.

In future blog posts I have decided that I am going to go into more detail for some of these specific areas covered. These future posts will explain how to complete each of the items listed in each of the main areas of SEO and marketing, so stay posted. If there are other areas that you believe I have missed on this list let me know and I will amend the post as I would like to include everything that makes for a successful web site.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

TwitterFox - Firefox extension

If you have not heard of Twitter yet it is a micro blogging tool that allows you to write 140 characters at any point in time. For more details on it please read my previous blog post which will give you some background on what it is. Well I have been using Twitter now for quite a few months and enjoy its ability for me to post useful comment and sometimes not so useful comments off to my followers. Something that I have found very useful is a Firefox extension called TwitterFox. This is the primary method I have been using it to post my tweets and interact on Twitter. If you live inside the Firefox web browser then TwitterFox is a great way for you to post, receive replies, direct messages and generally keep updated on the people that you are following. The extension is very lightweight and adds a tiny icon to the status bar of Firefox. I have been through quite a few bits of standalone pieces of software as well as a number of other Twitter downloads including the majority of the ones listed on the Twitter website ( and found this one to be the fastest and most reliable. The URL to the extension is below;

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Firefox Wallpapers Galore

Firefox users, lovers and fanatics will love this link. The link below is to the most comprehensive listing of Firefox themed wallpapers for your desktop that I have found. Anyone with any other links to wallpapers that are not on this page please post away. This is just a short post but as you can see from the page I give a big shout out to Nikesh for putting this page together.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Speed up your page load times with a simple trick

Here I have for you a simple image trick to make your pages load faster. This might sound simple but it is something that i notice allot of web developers overlook when adding images to pages, whether it is because they are lazy or just didn't think about it, this is a fact. Every time you web page loads the browser looks for the width and height of an image. This is specified through the attributes width="236" & height="657" which allows your browser to instantly know, through your HTML / XHTML code, how big the image is and where to place it. What happens behind the scenes now is that you browser will load your page text before the graphics. If your graphics do not have width and height attributes set then as the browser reads the HTML / XHTML and gets to one of the images with no attributes, it causes the browser to have to perform a function to work out the actual size of the image, which hence slows down the load time a little bit. So the trick to making you pages load quicker is to make sure that all of your graphics, even the small transparent gifs and bullets have a width and height set. After some testing that I have done on a dial up connection you can really notice the difference. Give it a try.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Change file types in Vista - Using Types

Have you noticed that the functionality to associate file types with a program has been dropped in Vista from the explorer menu "Tools" > "File Types". Well there is a way to give you back the control that you are used to with a program called Types. It is a is a free and lightweight configuration utility for Windows Vista and XP that allows you to edit program associations, icons, context menus and other properties of various file types displayed in Windows Explorer programs in Vista. You can still use Vista to change what programs open which file extensions. For example by clicking on "Start" > "Default Programs", or by right clicking on a file and clicking "Properties" and on then by clicking on "Change" on the "General" tab. Types however allows you to full control of editing file types and context menus and many other properties. It is definitely worth a look at and is in my mind ones of the most powerful freeware file extension managers out there as changes are made instantly with a quick refresh click. It is definitely an improvement on the inbuilt Windows file extension management options.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Google Chrome - New Google Browser

Google have released a new browser called Google Chrome. The best description I have found of the new browser in in Wikipedia. At the same time Mozilla have released Firefox 3.1 Alpha 2 and Microsoft have released IE 8 Beta. I have been on a bit of a downloading spree lately getting the latest versions of the browsers and and testing each of them. As always my favorite if Firefox simply because of the extensions that it offers and as a web developer I cannot live without the Web Developer toolbar and Firebug. But let me not get led astray. Google have a browser now and although it is in beta stage is is very quick when loading pages that rely on JavaScript and AJAX. I have tested it on a number of websites that use allot of AJAX and the browser works very nicely as it has been designed to. I have read a number of reviews that back this up for one and . Google Chrome is defiantly a browser that will in the future go head to head with IE, FireFox , Safari and Opera however at the moment it is only early days so it is way to early to tell the extent that this browser will take a share of the market. For the moment I will be sticking to FireFox however I have noticed that it does perform better with allot of the Google apps that I use so I may find myself switching between the two when preforming different types of browsing. Interesting features that it offers is that you can browse incognito. This means that pages you view in this window won't appear in your browser history or search history, and they won't leave other traces, like cookies, on your computer after you close the incognito window. Any files you download or bookmarks you create will be preserved. Another feature that it offers is that if a tab crashes then the whole browser does not crash only the tab with the problem will close. Other new features include a new JavaScript Engine called V8 is in use, better performance through compiled JavaScript as it is compiled into machine code and not necessarily always interpreted. New JavaScript VM which has a better garbage collection included to preserve memory and browser tabs or new browser windows run in dedicated threads. I am still finding out more information about the browser as it is only new so if anyone has any interesting points to raise about the browser please post your findings and opinions of Chrome.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Google alerts to build back links to website

Building back links is essential for your website to rank high in the search engines. Finding relevant websites to request back links from can take time and research. I have found a great way though to located relevant websites to build these back links from which is free. If you have a Google account then you can setup Google alerts to send you links to websites and blogs that have published freshly content that matches the keywords that you are looking for. To do this visit and enter the keywords and interested in and your email address and you will be sent alerts of and new web page that publishes content that contains those specified keywords. You can visit each of these websites, that Google alerts has provided you a link to, check that this website is relevant and if they offer the ability to publish press releases or links on their website, then offer them as link to your website. This can be added in the form of a link swap on their links page, a link embedded in some content that you provide the website that links back to you website or a back link in a comment on one of their blog post s’. Make sure that you leave relatively quality comments on blog posts though or you will find that they will not publish your comments.

I have found that this is a great way for me to build back links to my website as on a daily basis I am provided with a list of websites that have published content that related to my keywords. Over time also you get to see which websites are the ones that publish content the most that relate to your keywords so you can work out whether it is worth forming a relationship with these websites to add a permanent link to you site. If anyone else has any great ways of building back links please leave a comment.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Recuva - Restore files that you have deleted

Recuva (pronounced "recover") is a freeware Windows utility that can be used to restore files that you have deleted from your computer. It comes from the makers of CCleaner so you can trust the product developers. It can be used to retrieve files that have been deleted from memory cards, mp3 players as well as the recycle bin. If you have been hit with a virus that has deleted files then you can use the program to locate the files that have been deleted and restore them to their original location. I have only just started playing with the program and ran a few tests and it seems to work quite well. The interface is quite easy to use so it can be used by all levels of computer users with a relatively good understanding of a computers file system. It is in beta phase so it may have some bugs, but I am yet to find any. If you have deleted a file or need to recover lost data then give it a try. You can find it at

Monday, July 28, 2008

Reader for iPhone by Google

There is now a even better version of XHTML version of Reader by Google for mobile devices available at .This version is aimed at the iPhone as it is aimed at mobile phones with advanced browsers. It is designed to offer many of the same features as the desktop, while making it quick and easy to act on items. You can scan the headlines for news items that catch your eye and then click to expand the headline. You still have all of the available features such as staring, sharing, and keeping unread are done in place. Check it out at

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Twitter - another web 2.0 fad?

Twitter, another Web 2.0, hyped up buzzword, or is it. I had reluctantly been watching it for a while then decided that I would have to check it out seeing though I am a web developer and it could possibly have some positive implications on my work. Let me explain, for those that don't know. Twitter is a micro blogging tool that allows you to write 140 characters at any given time of day or night for any given reason. You can do this via web widget, browser, SMS or one of many other methods.

When I first heard about Twitter, I simply couldn't see why anyone would use it. Now, after using it for about a month, I most definitely can see how and why it can benefit businesses or individuals. I can now follow other web developers and see what they are doing as well as companies that I am interested in (i.e Apple etc) via their company employee's or via a website that follows a particular topic. See check my profile to see the feed that the Twitter is providing me with everyday. . By following people, businesses or what ever maintains the twitter account, I get some inside information about what they are thinking, writing, doing etc. It inspires me to keep working on and can be interesting at the same time to find out what people are doing online everyday.

I can also see that for businesses it can be used as a communication tool to let others know what their business is doing and where they are tracking with each item that the business is working on. In a way you can build hype up around products that you are launching and use it to promote things that are in the pipeline. I can understand why allot of large businesses would be scared of this however smaller businesses can now build up hype about what they are bringing out and provide their customers a feed of information about anything they propose.

Finally, one other thing you can do with the tool is to embed your twitter feed into your website or blog. It can be used to generate addtional content on your web page or blog for the search engines to run over, as they tend to love fresh content. I will probably be implementing my Twitter feed on my blog pretty soon, I just want to use it for a bit longer before I do so.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Free Top Level Domains

If you are looking at acquiring a top level domain for your website then before you make a purchase I should highlight that you actually have a couple of other free domain registration options. Firstly there is the .tk domain which is quite old which can be registered at Then there is a new top level one which I have just found named which you can register at The dot seems to be fairly new so jump onto it as you can pickup quiet a nice domain name for free at the moment. I have just registered three new domains there which are the following,, and I was going to keep going and register more but decided that I should leave some for the rest of us out there. If anyone else has any ideas about free domains out there please leave a post so that we can have some sort of list here of the free domains available out there. I would also be interested in anyone who has setup a website with one of these domains to leave a post with their URL so I can check out what people are using these domains for. Happy domain registering.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Link Tiger - Broken link finder

Link Tiger is an easy to use broken link finder that can be used for free if maintaining a single website with no more than 1000 links contained throughout your website. As a website developer it can also be used to maintain more than one site with more links however a licence fee is required in this case. Link Tiger allows you to locate the broken links on your website so that they can be fixed before the customer has time to see it. From my experience with the product it is very easy to use with the summary page providing you with a list of broken links on your website that is really easy read. The page then provides you with the ability to click on the broken link item listed while the software locates and highlights the broken link on the page, so that there is no searching through the page trying to find the link. It is a very useful online service that I recommend that you use if you are concerned about having broken links throughout your website. Broken links can have an effect on your search engine rankings as well as be a bit of a turn off for your website visitors so it is important that you fix them if they appear on your website.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The state of Social Networking

There are currently a number of Social Networking sites that stand out above the rest and this post basically points out the sites that really stand out when it comes to the concept Social Networking. One thing that should be noted is that these sites can be used to create more traffic for you website or blog as they provide you with the ability to post comments or create pages that link back to your online presence.

Blogs are an important form of social networking and sites like Bloglines allow you to search and subscribe to blogs that discuss topics that relate to your websites content. A simple form of Social Networking is the ability you have to leave comments on blogs that link back to you website. Please do not spam blogs, but write worthwhile comments that have relevance to the blog post and your website and that will capture readers attention and prompt them to visit your website.

Facebook is one of the most successful Social Networking sites and provides more functionality than most of the other sites. Create and account and network with people that have similar interests as yourself and use the site to promote events, educate users that will want to visit your site and use it promote any products that you may be selling. It is a great place to connect with business contacts you may never bump into otherwise.

MySpace is another service that can be used to spread the word when it comes to events and products that you have currently developed. Primarily the music world has taken over MySpace and it is used heavily by musicians to demo a few of their tracks and keep their fans in the loop with what is going on with their group. It can however be used to promote services that might be useful to certain types and groups of people that use the service.

Twitter is something different again. It allows users to type how they feel at a particular moment in the day, which to me seem pretty useless, but there seem to be a lot of people that use the service so maybe you could use it to twitter about the products you are working on or gain peoples interest in what you are trying to achieve etc with the product or service that you are offering.

On a business note Linkedin is for meeting business people that have similar interests as yourself. Although I have not had a chance to play with this one I believe that this would be useful to gain interest about your product or service with people that are in your industry.

Then there are the social bookmarking websites which are sites, such as, Digg and StumbleUpon etc, which allow users who bookmark your article to flag your article on the social bookmarking website. They all work slightly different with just being a website that manages your bookmarks online, with some great search and networking tools available to search similar user bookmarks. Then you have sites like Digg it. This is used so that when an article that is attractive gets digged by users the relevance of the article on the dig network receives coverage and then the article is feature and hence receives more traffic through the Digg network.

I could keep going on but believe that this gives a pretty good overview of the state of online social networking at the moment and outlines some of the key online products. If you have any other interesting web 2.0 social networking applications worth a look let me know as I am interested in finding some more social networking applications.